Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 19)

Have an easy fast, friends. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Senate Republicans are playing hardball in their efforts to quickly confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. As the Washington Post reports:

Senate Republicans say they plan to forge ahead with a hearing next Monday whether Christine Blasey Ford is there or not, a take-it-or-leave-it gambit to put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court before the end of the month that risks backfiring politically.

Lawyers for Ford, the California professor who accuses Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, said Tuesday night that their client wants an FBI investigation before she testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The committee’s GOP chairman, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), scheduled Ford’s testimony before confirming that this day worked for her. He did, however, make sure it worked for President Trump’s nominee, who categorically denies any wrongdoing and has been holed up at the White House preparing for his second round in front of the Senate.

“The invitation for Monday still stands,” Grassley said in a statement. “Dr. Ford’s testimony would reflect her personal knowledge and memory of events. Nothing the FBI or any other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee, so there is no reason for any further delay.”

This is a politically-dangerous approach for Senate Republicans to take with just weeks to go until the midterm elections. Republicans had been pushing for a Kavanaugh vote on Thursday before deciding to push the decision until next week. Grassley’s “Monday or never” approach with Kavanaugh’s accuser is a curious roll of the dice, as Chris Cillizza writes for CNN:

Lost amid the “will she or won’t she” questions is the fact that what Grassley — almost certainly in coordination with the White House — is doing represents an absolutely massive political gamble: Amid the cultural upheaval of the #MeToo moment and with an election looming in less than seven weeks’ time, Republicans are daring a woman alleging sexual assault against a nominee for the country’s highest court to either put up or shut up.

President Trump, meanwhile, says that “it is hard for me to imagine” that sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh are true. We would assume that Trump does not mean that literally. It’s also worth noting that even Trump isn’t responding to these allegations as poorly as Colorado Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert.

 

► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) was never behind in any public poll while defending his seat…until 2018. Now it’s starting to look more and more like Coffman may not make it to another term. Prognosticators at 538.com have moved CO-6 to a “Likely Democratic” classification.

From 538.com

 

► Republican Attorney General candidate George Brauchler wants voters to believe that he should be elected in November because he is the more experienced prosecutor compared to Democrat Phil Weiser. Brauchler doesn’t normally mention the fact that he has an absolutely BRUTAL record as the District Attorney in the 18th Judicial District. Brauchler suffered two more high-profile losses this week alone.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Sen. Holbert Yucks It Up Over Kavanaugh Rape Allegation

UPDATE: The Colorado Senate GOP is responding to Bente Birkeland’s story, and it’s a disaster:

Colorado Senate Republicans today raised objections to a Colorado Public Radio report, appearing Tuesday, that falsely suggested Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert and other lawmakers made jokes on social media about allegations of sexual misconduct that have emerged in the Brett Kavanaugh case.

The Facebook posts in question did not come in response to a news story or any substantive comments on the case. They came in response to a Babylon Bee parody, widely shared on social media, that took a playful swipe at California Senator Feinstein but DID NOT mention anything about sex or sexual misconduct.

“I read the Babylon Bee parody Saturday morning,” said Holbert. “It was satire, similar to The Onion, about seven-year-old Kavanaugh’s foot touching the floor while playing a kid’s game called ‘The Floor is Lava.’ I knew nothing about Dr. Ford or what she was alleging until Sunday. To claim that I was making light of those allegations before I knew about them is false.”

This explanation, of course, is nonsense. The existence of serious sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh was originally made public one week ago, on Wednesday September 12th. Those reports were the basis for the Babylon Bee satire post that House Minority Leader Patrick Neville posted on Saturday and Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert responded to. The name of Kavanaugh’s accuser may not have been made public, but enough was known about the allegations for any reasonable person to realize that joking about this is in extremely poor taste.

Understanding this in the context of the Colorado Senate’s failure to police its own sexual misconduct problem, and this silly denial is something akin to the worst possible response. It would have been far better to say nothing at all, but either arrogance or a guilty conscience forced Holbert to keep talking.

Enjoy the follow-up stories.

—–

Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert (R).

As our readers know, the past year has witnessed a major controversy in the Colorado General Assembly as staffers, lobbyists, and even lawmakers have come forward with allegations of widespread and pervasive sexual harassment by lawmakers in both parties. In the Colorado House, Rep. Steve Lebsock became the first sitting legislator in over a century to be expelled by a majority vote of the chamber.

In the Republican-controlled Colorado Senate, there was a very different result. Credible and thoroughly investigated allegations of harassment against Republican Senators were systematically downplayed the GOP leadership of the chamber. The lawmaker subject to the worst of the allegations, Sen. Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs, received preferential treatment from leadership up to and allegedly including the suppression of investigative information that could have changed votes at the failed hearing to expel him.

The member of GOP leadership principally responsible for the “cover-up” of the results of further investigation of Baumgardner was Majority Leader Chris Holbert, who has aspirations to be the next Senate President if the GOP holds their one-seat majority. At the very end of the session Baumgardner was further stripped of his remaining committee assignments, but the question of his continued service was left to 2019’s Senate.

Fast-forward this to yesterday’s related story from Bente Birkeland, the journalist who first exposed the widespread allegations of sexual harassment at the Capitol–in which the same Sen. Chris Holbert lets slip his inner ugly on the matter of sexual assault allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh:

Two top Republican leaders in the statehouse made jokes on social media about the circumstances surrounding the sexual assault allegation facing Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

In a Facebook post dated Saturday, Sept. 15, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville shared a link to a story from the Babylon Bee, a Christian news satire website, with the headline “Exclusive Report: Kavanaugh May Have Cheated While Playing ‘The Floor Is Lava’ As A Child.“

…Republican Rep. Kevin Van Winkle liked Neville’s post, so did Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert, who responded:

“An anonymous source who may or may not have ever been associated with the Little League has allegedly stated that, at the age of nine, Kavanaugh’s right foot did not touch the base when rounding second.”

This post was made last weekend, before Republicans in Washington had fully recognized the serious of the sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh. Now that these allegations have delayed the vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, throwing his nomination into chaos, Republicans cracking bad jokes about the situation could not look much worse.

But for Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly, yes–it’s worse. Minority Leader Patrick Neville voted against the expulsion of Steve Lebsock. Sen. Holbert’s conduct in defense of Baumgardner was deeply questionable, but the situation hasn’t been resolved as all parties await the results of the upcoming election to determine who will be in control of the Senate in 2019.

What this incident, which we understand has been deleted, confirms to us is the lack of good faith we’ve already seen from Holbert on the issue of sexual misconduct against women in the Colorado Sebate. And it’s a very good indicator of what to expect if he becomes Senate President.

That is something every woman who intends to vote this year in Colorado should know.

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Kavanaugh Vote, Scheduled for Thursday, Is Officially Cancelled

Via CNN

As CNN reports, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has officially cancelled a planned hearing on Thursday that was expected to result in a vote on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

So what happens now? Amber Phillips of the Washington Post outlined three possible outcomes this morning, but the first one — the Senate proceeds as normal — appears to be off the table at this point.

Senate Republicans are in a tough spot trying to figure out how to proceed with Kavanaugh’s nomination process given the horrible optics that await if California Professor Christine Blasey Ford testifies about sexual assault allegations in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee that looks like this:

Image via CNN

One woman being judged on sexual assault allegations by 11 Republican men is not what you would call a good visual just weeks before the midterm election.

George Brauchler Whiffs Two More Cases

George Brauchler.

Republican Attorney General George Brauchler has always talked a big game when it comes to his skills as a prosecutor, but as we’ve recounted in this space a number of times in recent years, the talk hasn’t always been matched by a record of courtroom victories–particularly in recent high profile cases involving fellow Republicans and law enforcement.

Westword’s Michael Roberts documents two more losses for Brauchler this week alone:

District attorneys from different jurisdictions don’t usually take each other on in court. But that’s what happened in regard to Denver DA Beth McCann and 18th Judicial District DA George Brauchler, whose face-off involved a disagreement over life-without-the-possibility-of-parole sentencing of juvenile offenders.

The Colorado Supreme Court has now sided with McCann. The Supremes found that McCann’s expansive strategy toward LWOP resentencing, which Mitch Morrissey, her predecessor as Denver DA, called “illegal” in this space, doesn’t actually run afoul of the law.

The matter gets into the legal weeds pretty quickly, but the short version is that Denver DA Beth McCann’s interpretation of the law prevailed–and more juvenile offenders may potentially be considered for a shorter sentence after the legislature eliminated life without parole for juvenile offenders. The second case this week, also via Westword’s Michael Roberts, concerns a mistrial in the death of State Trooper Cody Donahue:

Last week, a mistrial was declared in the case of Noe Gamez-Ruiz, a commercial truck driver charged with criminally negligent homicide for a November 2016 accident that killed Colorado State Patrol Trooper Cody Donahue.

Now, political insiders are speculating that the way the proceedings were short-circuited — the judge took action after defense complaints that prosecutors withheld relevant evidence [Pols emphasis] — could impact one of the biggest races on the November 2018 ballot. Why? Because the high-profile embarrassment took place on the watch of 18th Judicial District DA George Brauchler, the Republican nominee for Colorado Attorney General, and a new hearing in the matter is scheduled to take place shortly before election day.

Especially since Brauchler has turned his focus to running for higher office in recent years, his career has been marked by complex failures like the ones above. In all of these cases, Brauchler is ready to long-windedly defend himself and pay lip service to whatever victim is getting short shrift. But the failures aggregate: add these to Brauchler’s controversial plea deal sparing prison time for a cop who created and solicited child porn, the failure to win a meaningful conviction (twice) against former El Paso County Sheriff “Shirtless” Terry Maketa, and the loss of the death penalty phase of the Aurora theater shooting trial–resulting in months of needless suffering by survivors and families.

The point is that George Brauchler is wrong a lot, and loses. A lot. And that’s a poor case for promotion.

FACT CHECK: Coffman Says He Differs With Trump On Healthcare But He Actually Favors “Straight Repeal” of Obamacare

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora told a reporter Monday that Coffman broke away from Trump on healthcare.

That should sound familiar, if you’ve been following Coffman, because he’s been saying it early and often since last year.

In fact, it’s only partially true. Coffman supports what’s essentially a Trump proposal to repeal Obamacare now–but implement the repeal at an unspecified later date.  In other words, Congress would pass legislation now with a deadline/date for repealing the law sometime in the future.

After the U.S. Senate’s dramatic failure to kill Obamacare, Coffman told a Denver TV station he’d have backed a bill to do away with the national health care law–a move that would likely have pushed millions off the health insurance rolls.

Asked by 9News’ Marshall Zelinger last year (at 1:30 here) if he’d support a “straight repeal” of Obamacare, Coffman said yes.

Zelinger: “What about a straight repeal?”

Coffman: “If you said, ‘Well, okay, we’re going to repeal,’ and the date certain for the repeal was long enough out, where it wouldn’t disrupt the markets, and it gave Congress adequate time, I think that would be appropriate.”

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Walker Stapleton on PERA Reform: Eight Years of Zilch

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton

Long periods of inactivity occasionally interrupted by pointless platitudes.

If you were going to summarize Republican Walker Stapleton’s history with his self-professed signature issue of PERA reform, this is about where you’d end up.

As Brian Eason writes for the Colorado Sun, Stapleton has spent the last eight years as State Treasurer talking about the importance of reforming PERA (the Public Employees’ Retirement Association) but rarely bothering to actually do much to support his rhetoric. This won’t likely come as much of a surprise to anyone who is even remotely familiar with Stapleton, but the details are still pretty damning:

“Everything I said about the need to fix this problem seven or eight years ago I think has been borne to be true,” he told The Colorado Sun in an interview. “I’m proud of the fact that I was right on a lot of the things that I said were wrong.”

But when it came time to actually fix it? Stapleton — by his own admission — was largely absent from the public debate. [Pols emphasis]

By his own admission…

By Stapleton’s own admission, he wasn’t even conscious when lawmakers were voting on the most significant piece of PERA legislation (SB12-200) in the last decade. This is a direct quote from Stapleton via Colorado Public Radio:

“I was not physically even at the legislature. I think I was asleep by the time they finally passed the deal.”

It’s been pretty clear for awhile now that the Republican nominee for Governor is not a good candidate, but Eason’s story reinforces a more fundamental problem voiced by Democrats and Republicans alike: Walker Stapleton just doesn’t show up, and he’s not really interested in arguing otherwise. His legacy at the State Capitol is an empty parking spot.

Stapleton’s poor attendance as State Treasurer has been well-documented. Eason’s story in the Colorado Sun is different in that it takes a more focused look at Stapleton’s “involvement” with the one cause he has championed above all others:

In the fall of 2017, he trashed the board’s plan in interviews and editorials. In December, he offered suggestions of his own. But in the spring of 2018, when lawmakers set about to craft the final product, he went uncharacteristically silent.

He wasn’t at the negotiating table when the bill was drafted. Nor did he testify publicly on the measure, as he’d done on pension-related bills in years past.

“At the time it was really hard to tell whether he was a critic of what was being proposed or whether he was supporting it,” said Terry Campbell, PERA’s lead lobbyist.

Largely absent” will be the inscription on Stapleton’s political gravestone. 

Hate Group Rally At Capitol Features Colorado Republican Speakers and Stapleton Super PAC

(Holy crap – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Winkler speaks at hate group rally
Rep. Alexander Skinny Winkler (R) (top right, speaking).

Dozens of far-right conservatives and hate group members held a rally on the west steps of the Capitol Saturday afternoon to protest what they perceive to be censorship by Facebook. One Colorado Republican state rep helped produce the event and Walker Stapleton’s Super PAC was there to recruit staff.

Proud Boy rally at Capitol, 9.15.18 The event was hosted by Major League Liberty, a far-right pro-Trump social media podcast, along with the Proud Boys, a far-right men’s organization that describes itself as representing “Western chauvinists.” The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Proud Boys as a hate group “whose leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric.”

hate group Colorado Proud Boys post promoting far-right anti-censorship rally, 9.15.18Officially titled the Rally To Protest Internet Censorship, the event drew approximately 60 people as well as 40 or so counter-protesters. Nearly as many Colorado State troopers maintained a wide perimeter between those attending the event and those protesting it.

Speakers included State Rep. Alexander “Skinny” Winkler (R-Northglenn) and Republican Congressional candidate Mark Barrington, who is challenging Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter. In his speech Rep. Winkler said he supported free speech and liberty unequivocally. He mentioned that his sound company provided the audio equipment and that he was “happy to help out.”

Stapleton Super PAC recruiting staff at hate group rallyAlso in attendance was a representative of Better Colorado Now, the Super PAC supporting Republican Walker Stapleton’s campaign for governor. Wearing a Better Colorado Now polo shirt that read, “Elect Walker Stapleton,” Ben, who did not give his last name, said he was hoping to hire people to knock doors for his group. He said they “help elect Republicans.” According to the group’s registration with the Secretary of State, its purpose is to “Oppose Democrat candidates for governor and support Walker Stapleton for governor.”

Two of the attendees sported a popular Proud Boys T-shirt that reads “Pinochet did nothing wrong!” with the letters “RWDS” on the left sleeve. The acronym stands for “Right Wing Death Squad.”

The back of the shirt, kept covered by both men during the rally, depicts people being murdered by being dropped from a helicopter.

Stapleton SuperPAC staffer at rally w/ hate group close up

Stapleton Super PAC representative looks to hire canvassers at hate group rally. Man on right’s sleeve displays RWDS: “Right Wing Death Squad”

Many of attendees wore protective clothing, from tactical gloves with hard plastic knuckles to helmets and various types of arm padding. One man sported a set of hockey pads. Two others wearing street clothes said they fought with some “black bloc” types in Civic Center Park on the way to the event, with one saying he was struck in the head by a baton. He noted that the attackers were not part of the protestor group on the sidewalk.

The rally was livestreamed by Major League Liberty as well as many attendees.

Weird And Creepy In SD-15

SD-15 GOP candidate Rob Woodward.

Saja Hindi and Nick Coltrain of the Fort Collins Coloradoan report on what we sincerely hope was a random incident in which a Democratic Colorado Senate candidate’s car was apparently shot at last week–with the candidate inside:

It’s not clear if Rebecca Cranston, a Democrat running for a district that largely covers Larimer County outside Fort Collins, was targeted or if the shooting was related to other reported shootings in northwest Fort Collins.

Cranston had just pulled into her driveway Wednesday night and was on her phone when she heard something hit her truck. She first thought it might have been a rock.

“It didn’t occur to me that it would be a gunshot at first, until we saw the bullet hole,” Cranston said Monday morning.

Now, Rebecca Cranston is running to succeed Sen. Kevin Lundberg, one of the most conservative members of the Colorado Senate. In 2014, Lundberg cruised to re-election by almost 20 points, so this is not a race that Democrats are depending on to retake the chamber from Republicans in November. With that said, Cranston is doing everything she can to make the race competitive, one of two dozen Emerge Colorado-trained candidates on the ballot this year.

With regard to this shooting incident last week, as of this writing there are no suspects, and Cranston herself makes it clear that it could be a completely random act. There are been a number of unexplained random shootings in Northern Colorado in recent years, and it’s entirely possible that’s the explanation–enough that we weren’t initially sure this story rose to the level of coverage.

But then something rubbed us the wrong way:

Cranston wondered if she was targeted in Wednesday’s shooting because of her campaign, though she did not accuse her opponent of having anything to do with it.

However, she accused supporters of Republican Rob Woodward’s campaign of harassment tactics such as staking out her house and at one point almost driving her off the road while fleeing earlier in the summer. She said her mail — including campaign donation checks — was also stolen around that time…

And Republican Rob Woodward, who was accused of voter intimidation in 2012 after he basically said if Barack Obama was re-elected he would fire a majority of his employees, doesn’t completely deny her allegations:

[Woodward Campaign manager JD] Key said the Woodward campaign took a photo of Cranston’s home early on in the election only to settle a question about district residency. [Pols emphasis]

Full stop, folks. You do not need to physically travel to anyone’s home and photograph it in order to “settle a question about district residency.” You can find out if someone owns a home, and what district(s) that home resides in, from the comfort of any desk with a computer and an internet connection. However, if you’re looking to harass someone about their residency by tracking their comings and goings from home, that would be more of a stake out-type operation.

We don’t know if this “one-time photo session” of Cranston’s home occurred at the same time as she says somebody staking out her house almost forced her off the road while fleeing, but if this all happened, either at once or as multiple incidents–and we have no reason to doubt Cranston’s word–it would create a backdrop of creepy that a bullet hole in Cranston’s car cannot help but make worse. 

Obviously, we hope it’s a coincidence. But we’ll be watching closely for any more “coincidences.”

Lang Sias Dedicated To Backing Trump Now And Re-Electing Him In 2020

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Colorado Republican Party’s candidate for lieutenant governor apparently backs Trump not only now but also in the 2020 election.

State Rep. Lang Sias (R-Arvada), who’s Walker Stapleton’s running mate, became a “new member” of a Facebook group called “MAGA Trump Colorado” last week, according to a Facebook post obtained from a source.

MAGA Trump Colorado describes itself as “dedicated to supporting President Donald Trump and committed to his reelection in 2020.”

“Let’s work together to fulfill his vision of making, and keeping, America great,” states the group’s Facebook page.

Recent posts on the MAGA Trump Colorado website show bigotry to Muslims and hostility toward people of color generally.

For example, one post states, “WHY WOULD ANYONE BELIEVE THAT ISLAM CAN BE PART OF A MULTICULTURAL SOCIETY.”

Another post states, “AS A WHITE PERSON, I AM SICK AND TIRED OF BEING JUDGED BY THE COLOR OF MY SKIN BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE COMPLAINED FOR DECATES ABOUT BEING JUDGED BY THE COLOR OF THEIRS.”

Stapleton’s campaign did not return an email to confirm his MAGA Colorado membership and seeking to know if Sias 1) was aware of the bigotry on the MAGA Trump Colorado site and 2) would consider withdrawing his name from the site.

Another question for Sias that went unanswered: Is there anything Trump could do, or information that could be revealed, that would stop Sias from voting for Trump again, as Sias is apparently committed to doing?

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Tuesday Open Thread

“We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future.”

–John F. Kennedy

State Rep. Steve Humphrey Posts Image Of Flyer Attacking Colleague Over Violence Against Women

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep Humphrey Shares RMGO Wist Attack, 9.15.18

Colorado state representative Steve Humphrey (R-Severance) shared a photo of a flyer that accuses his party’s Assistant Minority Leader, Rep Cole Wist (R-Centennial) of wanting to prevent women from being able to defend themselves.

Rep. Steve Humphrey posts photo of RMGO flyer attacking Rep. WistRocky Mountain Gun Owners distributed the flyer at this weekend’s Centennial Gun Club Firearms Festival. Humphrey  posted a picture of the RMGO table, including the flyer, with the caption “Meeting and greeting and supporting conservative Second Amendment candidates at the RMGO booth.”

 

The flyer, one of two on the table attacking Wist, labels the House’s number two Republicans as “anti-gun” and says he “wants to leave you defenseless,” below an image of a woman being assaulted on the street.

 

RMGO, along with Minority Leader Patrick Neville, attacked Wist repeatedly during this year’s legislative fight over his proposed “red flag” bill. The bipartisan bill would have created a civil legal process called an Extreme Risk Protection Order to enable family members and law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from an individual who poses danger to themselves or others.

Sponsored by Assistant Minority Leader Wist, the bill was also supported by District Attorney George Brauchler and Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, both Republicans. It passed the House 37-23, with Wist and Rep. Dan Thurlow (R-Grand Junction) joining all Democrats in support, but failed to get out of committee in the Senate.

Rep. Humphrey’s post was “liked” by two of his colleagues, Rep. Perry Buck (R-Windsor) and Rep. Shane Sandridge (R-Colorado Springs). Joe Neville, who runs the House GOP independent expenditure committee and is a former RMGO lobbyist, also liked the post.

Voicemail messages requesting comment were not immediately answered by either Rep. Humphrey or Rep. Wist. This post will be updated with any replies received.

This post was first published by the Colorado Times Recorder.

Kavanaugh Confirmation Process Upended

UPDATE #2: President Trump voices his support for another hearing. From the Washington Post:

“We want to go through a full process,” Trump told reporters at an event on workforce development. He added that the Senate will “go through a process and hear everybody out.”

—–

UPDATE: Chris Cillizza of CNN explains how everything changed this morning:

What happened here is simple: Ford called Republicans’ bluff. As an anonymous accuser, her allegations weren’t going to change Kavanaugh’s glide path to the Supreme Court. As a named accuser, she complicated that path. As a named accuser who has now expressed a willingness to tell her story — and in public — there is no longer a clear path to Kavanaugh’s confirmation. (That’s not to say he can’t make it. It is to say that there is no clear path by which he makes it.)

The reason Kavanaugh’s path is now so fraught is a unique combination of the moment in which we are currently living, the man in the White House and the onrushing midterm elections.

—–

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (left) met with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) in late July.

The confirmation process for President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court was upended over the weekend when a woman came forward to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were in high school.

Christine Blasey Ford confirmed via the Washington Post on Sunday that she is the person behind an accusation of sexual assault that was first revealed last week as a confidential letter to Democratic lawmakers. From the Post:

Speaking publicly for the first time, Ford said that one summer in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh and a friend — both “stumbling drunk,” Ford alleges — corralled her into a bedroom during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County.

While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.

“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”

The Senate had been scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh’s appointment as soon as Thursday, but Ford’s allegations have cast new doubt on that process. As Denver7’s Blair Miller reports in a series of Tweets, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is among the chorus of voices calling for the process to slow until “full investigation” can be conducted:

Colorado’s other U.S. Senator, Republican Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) won’t go that far…

What Gardner does not say here is more important; he still hasn’t said whether or not he supports delaying Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote. As Politico reports, there are enough Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing public support for waiting on Ford’s testimony that a vote this week may not happen:

Less than 24 hours after Ford publicly came forward against Kavanaugh, her attorney said that she “will do whatever is necessary to make sure that the Senate Judiciary Committee has the full story,” including providing testimony. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) already had begun seeking follow-up calls for senators on Ford’s charges, and said on Monday that he is “working on a way to hear her out in an appropriate, precedented and respectful manner” — which could further imperil a committee vote on Kavanaugh that’s still set for Thursday.

Hatch, a senior Judiciary member, declined to commit senators to a Thursday vote on Kavanaugh and said the timing would be “up to the chairman.” But for the six Republicans who’ve urged the committee to hear from Ford, winding up the process as scheduled this week wasn’t a primary concern.

“This woman is willing to come forward and tell her story and we should listen to her,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) on Milwaukee radio station WTMJ. “I’m not really sure where this goes from here.”…

Johnson joins calls from GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alasaka and Arizona’s Jeff Flake and Tennessee’s Bob Corker, who told POLITICO Sunday that the committee shouldn’t vote on Kavanaugh until Ford can be heard. And Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of Republican leadership, said that “These are serious allegations that need to be looked at closely by the committee before any other action is taken.” [Pols emphasis]

Gardner had expressed his support for Kavanaugh’s nomination before these new allegations were made public. But with so many high-profile Republican Senators already willing to pump the brakes on Kavanaugh, Gardner’s position here is tenuous at best. Gardner doesn’t want to be one of the last Senators to agree to delay a vote on Kavanaugh until after Ford has a chance to testify.

Jason Crow’s Big Lead Kicks Off The Week’s News

We wrote last week about a poll underway in Colorado’s red-hot CD-6 race by the New York Times and Siena College, which showed Democratic candidate Jason Crow opening a double-digit lead over incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman. This poll was especially interesting because the results were released in real time–and after the early results excited Democrats, we’ve all been waiting to see if the results would change before the end.

As the Denver Post’s Anna Staver reports, those results held steady:

Colorado Democrats are starting to believe this could be the year they finally flip Colorado’s most competitive congressional seat.

A New York Times poll of the 6th Congressional District completed Friday put Democratic challenger Jason Crow 11 points ahead of U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora.

Crow’s 51-40 lead was outside the poll’s margin of error, but it also showed 9 percent of the people who responded haven’t made up their minds or wouldn’t say how they plan to vote.

Years of disappointment in this district have left Democrats extremely wary of signs that Coffman might actually be about to lose his seat. Coffman defeated highly qualified and base-beloved challengers in 2014 and 2016, and the 2018 nominee Jason Crow has worked very hard to convince the party faithful that he has a viable shot.

Given that Coffman was never once caught behind his Democratic opponent in a publicly-released poll before this year, these results are nothing short of electrifying for longsuffering Democrats. The mounting backlash against President Donald Trump is set to be felt first by Trump’s enablers in the Republican Party, and Coffman has been less successful triangulating off the party brand since Trump’s election than ever before. The delicate political balance that Coffman has managed since redistricting has been unbalanced by Trump, and the split tickets that kept Coffman in office while Democrats won the district in every race above CD-6 may finally be set to, as they say, “come home.”

For Democrats in 2018, hope springs eternal.

After Dismissing His KKK Great-Grandfather As Nothing But A Distant Relative, Stapleton Apparently Scrubbed His Office Of Homage To Him

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Back in 2011, when Walker Stapleton was freshly elected to be Colorado’s Treasurer, he took time to complain to then Denver Post reporter Curtis Hubbard about how painful it was to get “special permission from maintenance to hang pictures, even if there are already nails on the wall.”

Stapleton eventually got permission to hang his pictures, as you can see in the 2016 photo from his Facebook page on the right.

It turns out that one of Stapleton’s office pictures, just to the left of the American flag in the photo, was apparently a framed newspaper clipping featuring his great-grandfather, Benjamin F. Stapleton, who was mayor of Denver and a leader of the Ku Klux Klan here in the 1920s.

Here’s the headline from an edition of a Denver newspaper called The Monitor: “Denver Must Have Stapleton to Keep Denver Great and Growing.”

You can’t see the newspaper clearly in the office photo, but you get a good idea of what it looks like in the enlarged view below on the right.

It appears to be the same newspaper clipping that’s featured in Stapleton’s 2009 campaign ad, in which he brags about his great-grandfather’s “accomplishments” (parks, airport) without mentioning the fact that he was one of the state’s leading members of the KKK.

In that 2009 video ad, narrated by Walker Stapleton, the camera passes over the old newspaper while Stapleton refers to his great-grandfather and says, “His accomplishments include building the first civic center in Colorado…”

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